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International news in brief – May/June 2016

| June 21, 2016
  • USA: Billions in potential economic losses from uncontrolled weeds

A team of experts with the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) found that in the U.S. and Canada, about half of corn and soybean crops would be lost to uncontrolled weeds, costing growers about $43 billion annually. To develop their crop loss estimates, Dr. Anita Dille of Kansas State University and chair of the WSSA Weed Loss Committee and her team have gathered data from weed control studies conducted over a seven-year period. They found an average yield loss of 52% in corn and 49.5% in soybean crops when all weed control practices were eliminated. To determine the financial value of the crop-loss estimates, the committee used average commodity prices published by Statistics Canada and by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The committee focused its work on corn and soybean production due to the prominence of both crops in North America. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the United States ranks 1st in the world for both soybean and corn production, while Canada ranks 7th and 11th, respectively. Together the two crops are grown on approximately 170 million acres across those two countries.

Further data from the WSSA croplossstudy is available at Details also will be published in an upcoming edition of the WSSA journal Weed Technology. Further information on herbicide resistance is available at

  • Brazil: Mosquito killer billboard against Zika virus

Zika info

The places, where the customized panels were positioned, were chosen accordingly to the number of Zika and dengue outbreaks in the area.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently stated that the Zika virus is a global emergency which requires an urgent answer. To help to solve this problem, the advertising agency NBS and the out-of-home agency Posterscope, united in efforts to create a Mosquito Killer Billboard. An out-of-home panel equipped with technology that attracts and kills the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

A device was installed on the panel which aerially spreads a solution containing lactic acid, which reproduces the smell expelled by the human sweat and CO2, which reproduces human breath. The combination of these two substances attracts the mosquito at a distance of up to 2.5 miles. To enhance this attraction, fluorescent lights were installed at the base and at the top of the panel. As the Aedes flies on average 4 feet above the ground, this is an ideal media to capture and kill the mosquito.
For more information, see and

  • UK:  Changes in European agriculture – how the regulatory environment might adapt

This year’s BCPC Congress offers a programme of covering existing and future regulatory challenges. On day one representatives from all three EU zones will update delegates on progress and the challenges in working with Regulation 1107/2009. This will run in parallel with presentations on current regulatory, scientific issues in human and environmental health. In the afternoon a session on voluntary initiatives will look at alternative means of regulating the use of pesticide products with speakers from BASF, Thames Water and a grower’s representative. A short series of presentations will cover the future challenges and possible solutions for European arable agriculture. At the end of the day, the UK Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD), Health and Safety Executive will run a workshop enabling delegates to engage directly with senior representatives.

Day two starts with an opening plenary from the Soil Association followed by a round table Q&A on a wish list for the future for regulation, with representatives from Bayer, Syngenta and ECCA. A second stream of presentations will focus on sustainability in modern, intensive agriculture. The theme of the Congress then develops throughout the day alongside presentations on current regulatory issues such as implementation by MS authorities and experience with EFSA guidance. All presentations will be delivered by experts in their field and delegates will have ample opportunity in Q&A sessions and at breaks to meet colleagues, experts and suppliers of services to the industry. In the event of the UK exiting the EU, await an exciting set of opinions and presentations to add to the rich mix of topics that we hope characterises this event for the regulatory community.
For further information visit:

  • Fiji: Limit chemical sprays on vegetables

Vegetable farmers in Fiji have been urged to limit the number of chemical sprays by plant health experts after findings revealed that farmers were spraying up to 14 times more than the usual spraying limit. Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s integrated pest management officer Fereti Atumurirava said this had become an issue in Fiji after farmers complained of low yields with their leafy vegetables (such as cabbages) after pesticides did not prove effective. “The reason is because of farmers over spraying their leafy vegetables up to 14 times more than the usual spraying limit. This has resulted in insects developing resistance to the pesticide chemicals,” he said. Mr Atumurirava revealed the findings as part of the Integrated Crop Management Project they were working on last year.

The project is supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Fiji Agriculture Organisation (FAO). “The effectiveness of the spray takes four days,” said Mr Atumurirava. “When you spray on the insects, it takes four days before it dies. But with our farmers, they want a quick fix, they spray two to three times more after three days, this is not good. After one season the pests will develop resistance against the chemicals.” One of the methods Mr Atumurirava has suggested is to alternate chemicals when spraying their vegetables. “When the farmers keep using one chemical all the time, we found out that after a certain time the chemicals don’t work. We’re spreading the word to reduce the number of sprays and at least spare the life span of the chemicals.”

  • UK: Can you repel mosquitoes with an app?

Type the words mosquito and repel into an app store and dozens of apps will be listed, promising to ward off mosquitoes but do they actually protect you? The theory is the app makes the phone emit a high pitched noise intended to mimic the sound of predators or male mosquitoes, noises that pregnant female mosquitoes steer clear of. Requests to the developers of the seven most popular anti-mosquito apps, asking about the science underpinning these apps elicited no response.

Dr James Logan, at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine told the Independent newspaper that some studies have shown mosquitoes can communicate with wing beat frequency but there are no studies that have looked at [mosquito-repelling] apps and since there is no data to support their use, these apps are not recommended.  Travellers to mosquitoinfected zones should use a repellent that contains DEET 30-50% in high risk areas. PMD, IR3535 and icaridin can be used on lower risk areas. Covering up with long sleeves and loose clothing is also a good idea. A bed net should be used particularly in areas with malaria.

  • Netherlands:  Measuring mosquito nuisance with an app

Where is the greatest nuisance from mosquitoes and can this change in the future as a result of climate change? These questions are being asked by researchers at Waginengen UR, Sander Koenraadt and Arnold van Vliet who hope the general public can help in the development of their informative and interactive or Muggenradar (Mosquito radar) app. The Muggenradar app would make it possible to report mosquitoes and their nuisance very simply via a smartphone e.g. by taking pictures for identification. These observations can be linked to a map, as well as to data on weather and the landscape. In this way it may be possible to predict mosquito nuisance and offer a mosquito forecast. Next to mosquito prediction, the data collected via the Muggenradar app will be highly relevant to understand what factors are most important in nuisance and potential risks for transmission of diseases.

Elsewhere there is already an app available that can help in the fight against mosquitoes.  Sem Dengue (“Without Dengue”) has been developed by app developers Colab Tecnologia to enable anybody who spots mosquitoes or their larvae to take a snapshot which is tagged with geolocation data. The app has been introduced in Rio de Janeiro, enabling local inhabitants to report sightings of mosquitoes via the app to the authorities which, in turn, can dispatch pest control teams to take appropriate action.
To find out more or to assist visit

  • US: EPA encourages smart, sensible, sustainable approach to school pest control

April 5, was the US National Healthy Schools Day, a day dedicated to promoting healthy school environments for children. American children face risks from exposure to pests and pesticides in schools and the EPA encourages the use of IPM, as schools that practice this approach see fewer pests, use less pesticides, and may see a noticeable improvement in attendance and academic performance.

Two new EPA documents highlight the health benefits afforded to students, teachers, and staff by IPM. Preventing Pests for Healthier Schools: The Health Case for Integrated Pest Management provides a synopsis of the research supporting IPM as a proven method for creating healthier school environments. Making Pests a Thing of the Past: Integrated Pest Management for Healthier Schools and Students concisely conveys the basics of IPM, its science-based approach, and how pest control via IPM makes for a healthier school environment.

EPA’s Center of Expertise for School IPM serves as a resource for school districts seeking to develop and implement an IPM program. The Center provides information and tools that school administrators, facility managers, and pest management service providers can use to create a safer learning environment for children.
For more information on school IPM, visit

  • Switzerland: Developing nootkatone for pest control

Nootkatone is a citrus ingredient that is characteristically associated with grapefruit and can be extracted in minute quantities from the skin of grapefruit or the bark of the Alaska yellow cedar (also known as the Nootka cypress), or produced on an industrial scale from brewing via yeast fermentation.

Nootkatone is a citrus ingredient that is characteristically associated with grapefruit and can be extracted in minute quantities from the skin of grapefruit or the bark of the Alaska yellow cedar (also known as the Nootka cypress), or produced on an industrial scale from brewing via yeast fermentation.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has granted Evolva a license to develop and commercialise nootkatone for the control of a wide range of disease and virus vectors such as ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, flies, lice, bed bugs, and other biting insects. Evolva is currently performing all necessary safety and efficacy studies to get nootkatone, which can be extracted in minute quantities from the skin of grapefruit, approved by the US EPA, initially as a repellent against the blacklegged tick.

Evolva announced that it is expanding its nootkatone research focus to include the mosquitoes that transmit Zika and other viruses. CDC research has shown nootkatone both repels and kills the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, and the black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis which transmits Lyme disease. Nootkatone appears to have a mode of action distinct from that of currently used pesticides and therefore could potentially be valuable for mitigating pesticide resistance in mosquito vectors. Nootkatone already occurs in the natural environment and has an established track record as a flavor and fragrance ingredient, providing attractive characteristics in a number of respects.  “We now have the tools in place to accelerate the research and commercial development of nootkatone as a next-generation pest control compound against a broad range of biting insects, including the mosquitoes that transmit Zika, chikungunya, dengue, and West Nile viruses,” said Evolva CEO Neil Goldsmith.

  • Myanmar-Indonesia: Rice trade disrupted by pest infestation

Myanmar rice merchants, exporting rice to Indonesia, are struggling to receive payment for their shipments due to discoveries of pests in the rice, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation. Myanmar’s commerce ministry and the Indonesian trade ministry signed a bilateral agreement requiring Indonesia to buy 20,000 tonnes of rice from Myanmar by the end of March.  Myanmar exported 13,775 tonnes of rice to Indonesian’s Surabaya port in five separate shipments. However, Indonesian authorities have prevented the rice from being unloaded, and Myanmar exporters have not received payment for the shipments. One of the criteria for Myanmar exporters is for rice pest management to be done at labs approved by Indonesian authorities.

Vietnamese merchants faced similar issues in the past when they exported to Indonesia. Myanmar authorities are now in talks with the Indonesian logistics company Perum Bulog about extending the shipping period. They are also discussing strategies for pest management. However, the Indonesian company said its licence is expired and that it must get its licence extended by the Indonesian trade ministry in order to comply with Myanmar’s requests.

  • Global: You wait years for a merger then three come along at once

Bayer AG has a proposed takeover of Monsanto Co. the combination of which could produce annual sales of $67 billion. It would be the third major consolidation in the agriculture market in the past six months. The proposed DuPont-Dow merger still faces regulatory approval and ChemChina, an agriculture company owned by the Chinese government, is in the process of paying $43 billion for Swiss pesticide and seed giant Syngenta. The Bayer proposed takeover of Monsanto could increase regulatory scrutiny of the proposed $130 billion merger between DuPont Co. and The Dow Chemical Co. Individually, none of those deals are expected to raise regulators’ eyebrows. However, agriculture megadeals that have reduced the number of industry players may trigger pressure for more stringent reviews of proposed mergers.

Germany-based Bayer announced mid-May that it had made an unsolicited offer to Missouri-based Monsanto, with the goal of creating the world’s biggest pesticide and seed company, eclipsing the agriculture company created through the Dow-DuPont deal which may deliver annual agriculture sales of $16 billion. Although the amount of Bayer’s offer is not known, industry analysts expect the deal will exceed Monsanto’s $42 billion market capitalization. The agriculture unit formed in the Dow-DuPont deal would be one three new businesses created through the merger. Companies focused on material sciences and specialty products would also be spun off from the consolidation. The agriculture and specialty products businesses would be based in Delaware, while a third company focused on material science will be based in Dow’s hometown of Midland, Michigan.

  • US:  Tips for picking the best spray nozzle

There are many factors involved in selecting the best nozzle for the sprayer: application rate, spray pressure, travel speed, type of chemical sprayed, mode of action, application, target, and spray drift risk. Erdal Ozkan, Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Ohio State University, has written a factsheet on selecting the best nozzle for a spray application. A useful for guide for all.
The publication, “Selecting the Best Nozzle for the Job,” can be found at

  • EU: Vote delayed on renewing sales approval for glyphosate

On 19th May, experts from the EU’s 28 nations had been due to vote on a proposal, to extend
by nine years licensing of the herbicide glyphosate. The vote was postponed due to opposition in France and Germany, which have big farming and chemicals industries. Without those two countries’ support, the European Commission lacks the majority it needs for a binding vote. The EU executive had hoped for a decision to stop the clock ticking on a six-month phase-out period for glyphosate products when the existing authorisation lapses at the end of June. Germany had planned to abstain from voting because ministries run by different parties in the ruling coalition remain at odds. In response to opposition, the EU executive had already postponed a vote on reapproval in March and shortened the proposed licence to nine years from 15. Last month, the European Parliament recommended that glyphosate should only be approved for another seven years, and should not be used by the general public. Contradictory findings on its carcinogenic risks by various scientific bodies have thrust glyphosate into the centre of a row involving EU and U.S. politicians, regulators and environmental and agricultural researchers. Experts from the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) this week said glyphosate is unlikely to pose a risk to humans exposed to it through food. The finding matches that of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), an independent agency funded by the European Union, but runs counter to a March 2015 study by the WHO’s Lyon-based International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). That agency said glyphosate is “probably” able to cause cancer in humans and classified it as a ‘Group 2A’ carcinogen. It says it assesses whether the substance can cause cancer in any way – regardless of real-life conditions on typical levels of human exposure or consumption. Environmental groups have questioned the independence of the bodies, and called for the EU to err on the side of caution.

  • China: Mosquito-control campaign under way

A citywide mosquito-control campaign was launched in Shanghai to prevent the population of the disease-carrying insect from exploding as a result of the heavier precipitation this year’s El Nino is expected to bring.

mosquito-control campaign, sprays insecticide in Shanghai.

A pest-control worker, one of hundreds taking part in a citywide mosquito-control campaign, sprays insecticide in Shanghai.

The population has already increased over this time last year due to warmer temperatures and rain, making the campaign, which will run until November, critically important, said Leng Pei’en, an official with city’s disease control and prevention center.  According to Shanghai Patriotic Health Campaign Commission, early April is the best time to kill mosquitoes because they have started reproducing but have not begun to hatch in large numbers. High-proliferation areas such as residential complexes, markets, public toilets, construction sites and parks will be targeted. The commission said it will use safe but effective chemicals to eradicate mosquito larvae in nearly 650,000 spots where they are found breeding. About 50 monitoring points will be added monthly in every subdistrict, and special training will be given to more than 650 pest-control team members.

  • UK: RHS and BASF launch project to combat slugs and snails

A landmark research project, designed to help gardeners more effectively combat the threat from slugs and snails, has been launched by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). The year-long research project, is being run by the RHS and BASF, the only UK manufacturer of nematodes (which biologically control slugs and snails), will help scientists address gaps in their understanding of how best to tackle these common garden pests. The damage wrought by slugs and snails is an ongoing frustration for gardeners. In seven of the past 10 years, slugs and snails headed the RHS’ annual list of the top garden pests of the year, which is based on enquiries to the charity’s Gardening Advice Service.

fermentation vessels

Checking the fermentation vessels at BASF nematode production site in UK

The project, which will test six different control strategies, including those most favoured by gardeners, will help to identify which combination of treatments can provide the best results, depending on the environment and individual characteristics of gardens. The creation of tailor-made strategies combining multiple control methods, will give gardeners the knowledge and tools to make a real difference in their battle against slugs and snails.

Mike Finney, BASF’s Key Country Sales Manager Biologicals Europe, the Middle East and Africa said: “British gardeners are increasingly using beneficial nematodes as one the most effective ways control slugs and other pests. We were eager to join forces with the RHS on this project as we want to further understand how best to deal with these pests in the most effective, efficient and sustainable way.”

  • US: Aldicarb coming back to the agricultural pesticide mix

South Carolina farmers will soon get some help from an old friend to help in their fight against insects and nematodes. The carbamate insecticide aldicarb is to be used to control insect pests and nematodes in cotton. Registered under the trade name AgLogic 15G, the new product is expected to equal Temik. AgLogic 15G is making an initial run in Georgia this year. It is expected to be available in all cotton-producing states in 2017-2018. Aldicarb was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) six years ago. Because it is a restricteduse product, AgLogic 15G will only be sold by qualified distributors and dealers.  Jeremy Greene, entomologist at the Clemson Edisto Research and Educational Center, said the U.S. cotton crop has suffered. “Control of thrips and nematodes has been challenging since
for their respective state.

the availability of aldicarb, has dimini
shed, ” Greene said. “Temik 15G was on the market for about 40 years and was used on a significant number of cotton acres for control of thrips and nematodes. Aldicarb was very effective.”
AgLogic 15G is a product of Ag Logic Chemical LLC in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The product is classified as restricted by EPA and requires individuals to pass a certification/training program to become a licensed pesticide applicator for their respective state
More information about AgLogic 15G product registration can be found at

  • And finally…USA: Slice of tick anyone?

The work of artist Katherine Dey has been reported widely by international media. This accurate representation of a deer tick (Ixodes spp) was made in honour of a mushroom club who take great risk, entering tick infested woods, in pursuit of their passion. Katherine lives in New York state. Examples of other artworks can be seen at, instagram at katherine.dey and Some are definitely not for the feint hearted.

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Published in International Pest Control – May/June 2016 issue


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Category: International Pest News, news in brief

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